A lot of you that know me will know that myself and my husband spent the first half of this year house hunting. This will be the second property we’ve bought in Sydney so we’re used to the process, and pressures of buying under auction conditions, the competition and the crazy property prices. So you’d think it would have been easier this time around right? It wasn’t, in fact it was exhausting and of course I’ve got some pretty good knowledge on what we can do and change to really make a space work for us. We finally bought in June and are getting ready for our move.
So I thought I’d share with you the process of how we decided on suburbs, property type, floor plan, outdoor space and commuting requirements. What can be compromised, and what can’t (in my opinion for our needs), and where we go from here in terms of planning our renovation (you can following our journey in my later blog posts when we start the reno!).
Priority 1 – Peace and tranquility
Firstly, we looked at the area. We wanted a change, we live on the busy lower north shore. And whilst that’s been super convenient for access to the city, east and west it’s time for a change. The main thing was to be on a quiet street in a village type suburb (so no large shopping centres, or business hubs/industrial areas), we both work from home, so to have this quiet location was a non-negotiable.
Priority 2 – Floor plan
For me the flow and floor plan and how it could be changed came before the property era or style. It would drive me crazy if the floor plan didn’t work for us. Key was a deck big enough to entertain on off the kitchen. I didn’t need an open plan lounge/kitchen/dining but if it wasn’t open plan then I wanted the rooms to be of a good scale. I wanted 2 small office spaces separate to the rest of the living area, 1 good size master with ensuite and another good sized guest room with access to main bathroom.
You can see above the floor plan of the house we bought. The only thing in my mind that isn’t working is the size of the sleeping accommodation for guests. The top 2 narrow rooms will be offices, the master bedroom is a great size. The ensuite, main bathroom and other 2 rooms are far too small. So we’re going to get rid of that study/bed 5, make the end bedroom/bed 4 larger for guests and take some space back into the main bathroom and in turn the ensuite. Now that’s my perfect floor plan!
Priority 3 – links to transport and roads
This of course was on the list. Whilst we both work from home we still wanted good access to road links, especially for me to be able to service a wide area. And for my husband to have access into the city either via train or his motorbike. We bought in Wahroonga, close to good road links down to the M2, and very close to a train station. I also wanted to know that there were several ways to access the main roads in case there were accidents, from where we are I have 3 ways down to the city.
Priority 4 – Property era/style
Whilst I thought I was a traditional girl at heart, coming from the UK and loving all of the history we have in our homes there, I surprised myself early on in our search with how much I liked some of the 70’s style homes. And we’re lucky that the one we snagged was built in the early 70’s and still has plenty of 70’s vibe going on. I will retain this vibe and inject some more through the choice of tiles in the new bathroom, the type of kitchen we go for, and by bringing in furnishings that give a nod to the time.
Priority 5 – Renovation costs
I couldn’t ignore this. Whilst I would love to touch every part of a home, or rebuild I know that our budget couldn’t stretch to this. So at least the structure of the home needed to be great. And then we could move things around inside. I also wanted an outside space that was pretty much ready to go. Neither of us are hot on planting so we will learn as we go. I knew when I saw this place that by moving a couple of internal walls, remodeling the kitchen, 2 bathrooms and laundry/powder room. Installing timber flooring, new carpets, lighting, painting and window coverings throughout as well as upgrading our cooling and heating system it was all doable within our budget, and that’s exactly what we got!
I’m looking forward to sharing my personal renovation journal with you when we start in the new year. We’re going to move in and live with it all for a while, plan and decide what’s best for us and the home and then make a start in 2019. Exciting journey ahead!